Wow, this has been quite the whirlwind week. It is almost to the point where I have been down in Florida for two weeks! After the past five days of classes and training, I am “earning my ears!” So, with my weekend off, I wanted to provide an update on how my first week went.
The best part of my first week has been getting to work in my location. We began with a park orientation and it is safe to say that Animal Kingdom has an even more special place in my heart. We took the time to explore each land of the park and tell its story as well as its conservation message. This meant we explored The Oasis, Discovery Island, Pandora: The World of Avatar, Africa, Asia, and Dinoland. I have always thought that I knew a lot about the parks. I mean, I am a researcher at heart and I have always been the one to try to learn all the “fun facts.” However, it blew my mind how much there was to learn that I had never known. Animal Kingdom is so immersed in a story and theme. Most people understand that already, but they have not even scratched the surface of how much has been planned and thought out.
After park orientation, I got to have my first day of training in Discovery Island! We toured all of the stores and kiosks we have on the island and even spoke about some of the animals all around us. There are kangaroos, lemurs, and tamarins on the island. But most importantly, there are otters! Otters have been one of my favorite animals for a long while and they are even more so now. There are eight otters on the island, four of them still being very small baby otters. I can already tell that will be my go to spot in Animal Kingdom. (There is even an otter plush in one of our stores that I will see every day at work. It is basically a count down until I end up purchasing one.)
I have now had another day of on the job training and another day of merchandise classes. It is starting to become very real that I get to be paid to interact with guests and make sure their trip is memorable! In all of our merchandise classes, we discussed why merchandise is important. Some may say it is just important because it is a way to get money. I say no. While there is a transaction, we are much more than that. With each souvenir or item purchased, that is a memory of their trip that can be taken home with them. When a guest holds that Mickey plush or that Animal Kingdom pin, they will remember the great day they had in the parks. And I get to help that happen!
Now, I look forward to my last two days of training. I feel much more comfortable and I am excited to see what this brings! Animal Kingdom is a good place to be in this exciting time and I am so happy to be here for this time in the company.